Planning Your Flight: Visa Facts

14 December 2015
Read Time: 2.9 mins

Visas are often as important as your passport when it comes to travelling abroad. Whether you require a visa or not is determined on a country-by-country basis, as is whether you can apply for a visa prior to travel or on arrival.

Read on to learn about the visa requirements for visiting popular countries.

 Don't get into trouble before your holiday can even begin (Image: Getty)

Do I Need A Visa To Travel Overseas?

Visas are separate to passports and allow holidaymakers to remain in a foreign country for a specific period of time. Sometimes visas are recorded electronically. Other times they are a physical document or endorsement in your passport.

Depending on diplomatic relations, some countries require Australians to obtain a tourist visa either prior to arrival or at the point of entry.

Certain countries, such as the United States of America, have eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) and ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) 'visa waiver' programs. These are electronic pre-screenings for citizens from visa-exempt nations.

You should always check with the country's consulate or embassy as to whether you need a visa to visit, and confirm the travel conditions of the visa such as the length of time you are allowed to stay.

For countries that don't require a visa, there is usually a specific period of time you are permitted to stay in that country.

 Make sure you've got the appropriate documentation either electronic or in paper (Image: Getty)

How Do I Get A Visa?

Visas can be arranged either online or by submitting the appropriate documentation in person at the consulate or embassy. Your Flight Centre consultant can help you arrange your visa with VisasDirect.

Some countries charge a fee to obtain a visa. Make sure you have the appropriate currency if you are obtaining a visa on arrival into the country, as many destinations only accept cash.

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Visas For Australians Travelling Overseas

Here is a list of popular countries and their tourist visa requirements for Australians travelling overseas. The visa situation can change quickly, so it's important to check with the appropriate embassy or your Flight Centre consultant prior to departure.

Country Visa Required? Obtain Visa In Advance? Obtain Visa On Arrival?
Argentina No, but a reciprocity fee of $US100 is charged The reciprocity fee must be paid prior to arrival on the Argentine Migration website No
Austria* No
Belgium* No
Brazil Yes Yes No
Cambodia Yes Yes. E-visas can be obtained but are only supported at Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap International Airport, Koh Kong City (Cham Yeam), Poipet (Banteay Meanchey) or Bavet (Svay Rieng) Yes, if arriving into the country at an entry point different to those listed in previous column
Canada Not currently, but as of March 15, 2016 Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) visa waiver will be required if you are arriving by air eTA waver is required if arriving in Canada by air on or after March 15, 2016
Chile No, but a reciprocity fee is charged No Yes, upon arrival at Santiago Airport. If travelling via a US entry point, you must meet US entry/transit requirements
China Yes Yes No
Cook Islands No
Croatia No, but your accommodation will record your place of residence for official records with Croatian authorities
Czech Republic* No
Demark* No
Egypt Yes. An electronic visa application system is expected to be available by December 2015 Yes No
Fiji No No Visitor permit granted on arrival
Finland* No
France* No
French Polynesia No
Germany* No
Greece* No
Hong Kong No
India Yes, you must either have a valid visa or be eligible for a Tourism Visa on Arrival Yes. Eligible Australians can apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation, or make an appointment online with the Indian Bureau of immigration No
Indonesia Yes No Yes. $US35 fee must be paid upon arrival.
Ireland No
Italy* No
Japan No
Macau No
Malaysia No
Maldives No
Mexico No
The Netherlands* No
New Caledonia No
New Zealand No
Norway* No
Papua New Guinea Yes Yes. Contact the High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of Papua New Guinea to obtain a visa No
Peru No
Philippines No
Poland* No
Portugal* No
South Korea No
Russia Yes. If you are on a cruise, special permissions are granted for ships that dock less than 72 hours Yes. Contact your nearest Russian Embassy or Consulate No
Singapore No
Solomon Islands No
South Africa No
Spain* No
Sri Lanka No, but you must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation visa waiver Yes. Apply online No
Sweden* No
Switzerland* No
Taiwan No
Thailand No
Turkey Yes, an e-visa is required Yes. Apply online No
United Arab Emirates No
United Kingdom No
United States of America No, but you must apply for a visa waiver (ESTA) online Yes No
Vanuatu No
Vietnam Yes Yes. Apply with the Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam No

*Many European nations are party to the Schengen Convention, which allows visitors to enter several countries without a visa, creating a 'boundaryless' Europe.

Visas are the individual responsibility of travellers. The information above is to be used as a guide only.

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